MicroStrategy company has launched its free data visualization package called Analytics Desktop.
The fact that this package is offered absolutely for free is a very positive sign. This move looks like MicroStrategy’s attempt to take on competitors like Tableau, whose packages are often offered at $999, $1,999, and more.
Why this software is absolutely free you may ask. The idea is to entice people with basic capabilities in hopes that one day they’ll want to buy a more advanced version of this package.
MicroStrategy’s Analytics Desktop is a fast and user-friendly visual data analysis tool. Analytics Desktop is available for Windows operating systems (32-bit or 64-bit versions). A web browser and Adobe Flash Player are required for the application to run. Analytics Desktop and Analytics Enterprise cannot concurrently be installed on the same machine.
Note: If you have Analytics Enterprise installed on your computer, it is recommended that you install Analytics Desktop on a different computer.
Designed for self-service, Analytics Desktop empowers business people to analyze and understand data without specialized expertise.
You can create your free Analytics Desktop account here.
This short video provides an outline of this software:
Please also check out this Quick-Start Guide explaining how to use this tool.
You can import financial reports, statistical data, etc. into this tool not only from spreadsheets or text files, but also can write custom SQL to import data/tables from relational databases like MS Access, MySQL, Oracle, and others. Analytics Desktop can also import from MapReduce databases such as Hadoop.
Once data is in Analytics Desktop, dashboards can include graphs, interactive charts and grids, heat maps, geographical maps, graphs that show relationships between nodes, and more. After creating a visualization dashboard, you can share it with others in MicroStrategy’s own file format or convert the result into an image or Flash-enabled interactive PDF to make it available for more users.
Analytics Desktop’s Features:
- Visual data discovery
- Drag and drop visualizations
- Visual query builder
- Interactive dashboards
- Web browser access
- Access to online training, forum and knowledge base
It also has the following Advanced analytics features:
- Predictive analytics
- R integration
- Email distribution
- Export as a spreadsheet, PDF, Flash, image
- Free email and phone support
- Data import from Excel and CSV files, relational databases, columnar databases, multidimensional databases, MapReduse databases, Salesforce schema.
It is too early to analyze how competitive this tool is comparing to the more mature Tableau Public. But we can already see some benefits of this tool. The free version of Tableau Public can only connect with Microsoft Access or Azure Marketplace. Since Tableau Public is designed for sharing visualizations online, it’s not a good option for private data. MicroStrategy’s Analytics Desktop, on the other hand, is very flexible in terms of connectivity with databases; the results can be easily shared or privately handled.
Analytics Desktop software allows creating visually appealing, interactive data visualizations, and data-driven stories that create new insight and a better understanding of the data.